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An Interview With Ryan Runciman

INTRO
THETRIBE.CO.UK gives a massive welcome to Ryan Runciman! Though the character of Ryan began as a very naive and easily manipulated individual within The Tribe, this young man had a heart to match his size, and was fiercely loyal to a fault, eventually defining himself as a fighter who would die for those that he loves.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Back before the media icon that is Joss Whedon used to dip into a pool of proven actors within several of his shows, Raymond Thompson was using this very technique himself on numerous occasions. I remember that you had featured in an episode of A Twist In The Tale – created by Ray himself – right alongside Victoria Spence who went on to play Salene. It must have been that performance from which Ray had you marked out to play Ryan within The Tribe.

Do you remember what the original auditioning process like? Having worked with Ray before, did this make the situation easier or harder in some ways? And had you been involved in anything prior to A Twist In The Tale that we are unaware of?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

I was lucky enough to not have to audition for the role. I worked for Cloud 9 (Ray) previously in A Twist In The Tale and the Enid Blyton Adventure series. I did audition for the Enid Blyton Series and got a guest role.

That was quite a full on process as it was the first production Cloud 9 had done in New Zealand and they had open auditions.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Ryan has always been one of my personal favourite characters. Everything from his fierce loyalty to his naivety to his big heart to his explosive temper … I found him the most directly relatable out of all the characters. What was it like to play the character?

Through his time as Lex’s bodyguard to his role within the Resistance against the Chosen, Ryan has always been a physical character – was this fun to act out and portray? And was there anything that you found particularly challenging within the role?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

I have always played sports so the physical side was quite enjoyable. Sometimes there would be stunt guys brought in and what they could teach you how to do was impressive. Because we were quite young the “love” type scenes were always fairly awkward despite the support crew etc provided.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Speaking of challenges, Ryan’s ultimate downfall was always his temper, which we did see explode on more than one occasion. Was this a difficult emotion to portray on screen? And what did you find to be the more challenging portrayal of this emotion – Ryan’s response to Lex’s attempted rape of Zandra, or the attack on the Guardian who was effectively taking Ryan’s child away from him?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

The acting side with temper / aggression etc was fine, it’s what you get paid to do. That scene where Lex attempted to rape Zandra was pretty full on though, particularly for those two.

RYAN ENFORCING OVER JACK'S TRIAL

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Do you share any similarities with your character, emotionally or otherwise, or was Ryan a completely separate individual?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

He was pretty dumb and impulsive so I wouldn’t suggest I shared similarities in that regard. I’d like to think I shared the empathetic and caring qualities, but generally the character and I are pretty separate individuals.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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It was amazing to witness Ryan slowly emerge as his own individual, rising completely from out of Lex’s shadow, during the course of the show. It was a fantastic character development arc to watch unfold, and this was thanks, due in part, to his interactions with Salene.

But do you personally think that Ryan could have made this transition without the support of Salene? Could it have happened with another character? Or do you feel that it was specifically Salene herself that gave Ryan the confidence to define his own sense of self?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

I think when you’re doing 52 episodes a season there is plenty of opportunity for various storylines to develop. If I’m honest, I don’t remember exact details of the story arc, (it was 20 years ago now), but it was probably just one of those things were further story tangents were required, and Ryan and Salene fit as characters.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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What are your fondest memories from your time on the show?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

There were a lot of good memories, things like laughing at stupid stuff on set and cast trying to compose themselves to get through the scene, sense of achievement after finishing the school year while working, wrap parties were always a good time too.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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It is always devastating to lose an original character from a show, and none more so than Ryan. What were the circumstances regarding the decision to leave The Tribe? And, looking back, what do you feel about your overall time on the show? Is there anything more that you wish you could have done with the character?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

No I was pretty happy to leave The Tribe. It was my last year at high school and I didn’t want to miss that, so leaving after a couple of seasons was easy. It was a unique experience that was good to be a part of.

Financially it was helpful as well in terms of getting me through Uni.

THE EMOTIONAL MOMENT THAT SALENE STOPPED RYAN FROM TAKING THE JUMP

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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For your fans, we never got to see you continue within acting, as this seemed to be something that you were no longer actively pursuing. What were the reasons behind this? Was it simply the right time to move on to another path?

And what have you been up to since leaving The Tribe?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

Yeah I pretty much stopped it once I left The Tribe and went back to school full time. Wanted to get Uni done and get a real job, rather than always auditioning and looking for your next role. The acting world was not for me.

I ended up getting a degree, working as an accountant for around 12 years. I’ve recently changed career, and have been working as a Rugby Analyst for the last 18 months which I love.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Though Salene and Ryan’s relationship soured somewhat towards the end, there have been a lot of alternate fan pairings made between the character and others. One of the most popular of which is Alice and Ryan. What are your thoughts about the possibility of that pairing?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

No real thoughts, if I’d stayed on the series longer there probably would’ve been some strange hook ups in the storyline.

Soaps always have to mix it up.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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And finally, is there anything else that you would like to tell your fans?

RYAN RUNCIMAN

I always find it interesting that some people still care about this show so many years after the fact.

OUTRO
A massive thank you to Ryan Runciman for taking the time to participate within our interview!